Month: November 2015

Triple Edge endurance triathlon and marathon 7: race preview

I haven’t posted my race report on marathon 6 yet, but since I’m only two weeks away from marathon 7, I thought it would be a good idea to write a post about it. Here is the plan: I’m racing the Triple Edge endurance triathlon (4km swim, 120km bike, 30km run) and adding to it an extra lap on the run course to complete my seventh marathon with 45km.

Sounds crazy, right? I still don’t believe that I got into this but here is a summary of how it happened.

I was in an information night for the Bilbys novices program and Kylie, a friend that ran with me in marathon 2, asked me about the plans for the next marathons. I told her about the problem that I had for December: I had registered for the Triple Edge event earlier in the year (before my idea of the fundraising marathons) and didn’t want to do a marathon on the weekend preceding the race nor on the weekend after. That would leave only the week between Christmas and New Year’s eve. She then asked me: “How long is the run?”, and I replied “30km”. Without hesitation and in an almost blasĂ© tone she said: “Then just add another 12km and you’ll be done with your December marathon.”

Maybe she was being sarcastic, I don’t know… the point is that here I am two weeks from the biggest challenge yet. There is more to this story but I’ll write about that later (no, I didn’t fall for this trap that easily, but I fell in the end…). Meanwhile, I’ll leave you with the official description of the swim leg of the race by the organisers themselves. Enjoy the read.


Swim course of the Triple Edge Endurance Triathlon




Marathon 6: race preview

It is quite exciting to be reaching the halfway mark. Yes, the sixth marathon is only three days away! It is going to be the third marathon in Canberra and for the third time I’ll be climbing Mount Majura and Mount Ainslie. This time the climbs will be part of the Sri Chinmoy Triple Triathlon, which I’ll be racing in a team of three together with Ben and Perry.

Here is a snapshot of the race:

Leg 1: Swim 1.5 km (Lake Ginninderra)
Leg 2: Mountain Bike 35 km (Black Mountain and Bruce Ridge)
Leg 3: Run 20 km (Mt. Majura/Mt. Ainslie)
Leg 4: Swim 3.5 km (Lake Burley Griffin)
Leg 5: Mountain Bike 40 km (Arboretum/Mt. Stromlo/Cooleman Ridge)
Leg 6: Run 12 km (Mt. Taylor)
Leg 7: Swim 1.2 km (Lake Tuggeranong)
Leg 8: Mountain Bike 24 km (Mt. Waniassa/Mt. Stanley)
Leg 9: Run 13 km (Red Hill)

Ben will do all the rides, Perry legs 4, 6, and 9, and I’ll do the first and last swims and the first run. You may be wondering where the marathon is. Well, after the 20km run I’ll add extra kilometers to make up for the marathon distance. Here is what it will look like:


Top: map of the first run leg of the Triple Tri. Bottom: The extra run that will add up to the marathon distance (here is the link to a detailed map). You’re welcome to join me at any part of the second half of the marathon.

The second part was planned to have options for people wanting to join me for different distances. I’ll start near the Boat House, cross Kings Ave bridge and follow the Lake towards Weston Park. After a loop around the Park, I’ll head back , turn left at Commonwealth bridge and do the loop between the two bridges. A good chance for those looking for a short 5 km run. After this loop, I’ll turn left towards the Acton Ferry terminal where Ben should have parked my car after his first bike leg đŸ˜‰ . There is the option to run to the National Museum and back in case the distance is still under 42.2 km at that point.

Remember my policy: I’ll run at the pace of the slowest person in the group. So if you want to run all, or just part of it, let me know so that we can organise paces and distances.

Jackie Fairweather sprint triathlon

After a couple of duathlons, last Sunday was supposed to be the first triathlon race of the ACT calendar, and a very special one. The whole weekend was filled with sporting activities in honour of the late Jackie Fairweather, a great name of the sport. What was not in the plans was the storm that hit Canberra on the days preceding the race. The result? Lake closed for swimming and the triathlon became a duathlon. The 750m swim turned into a 2km run, disappointing many of the competitors, including me.

In one hit I missed my chance to jump in the lake as a practice for the Sri Chinmoy Triple Tri this coming Sunday, and also lost the small advantage that the swim gives me over the excellent cyclists out there. Just to give an idea, in the last Olympic distance triathlon in March this year I was the 30th male competitor to leave the water, the 32nd in the run but only the 153rd on the bike. No, there was no flat tyre, nothing. These are real numbers.

After knowing that the race was going to be a duathlon I traced my race plan: would try to run in just under 4 min/km in the first run, go hard on the bike, and do the last 5km in under 22 min. I have been training for my marathons and long races and wasn’t expecting much from the Sprint race.


Running into transition after the first run. Mission accomplished: average pace of 3:57 min/km (as measured by my Garmin. See full activity here). Photo from Shelley Try and Elizabeth O’Keefe available on the Triathlon ACT Facebook page.

As always, the field started too fast for me but I instinctively followed the others. A few hundred meters later and I had corrected my pace to follow the race plan, finishing the first run in 8 minutes. The first transition was seamless: shoes off, helmet on, off you go.

I mounted the bike and head west on Parkes Way towards the point that everyone was talking about, the 100m climb over 1km at the Arboretum. On the way, I was surprised that I wasn’t losing positions, in fact in the ascent at Lady Denman Dr I started overtaking some people. Shortly after I reached the Arboretum climb, raised from the saddle, and rode most of the climb in that position. It was nice to overtake some pretty fancy TT bikes during the climb đŸ˜‰ . On the way back I managed to keep a good speed all the way. Overall I was happy with the ride but unfortunately I don’t have the correct time for it. The official bike time includes both transitions and it took me some time on the bike to remember to press the the lap button on my watch.

Transition 2: rack the bike, helmets off, shoes on. All fairly simple if the inner sole of both my shoes hadn’t come partially out when I took my shoes off in T1. It took me some precious seconds to fix that and start the second run.

The second run started, as always, fast. I think my legs try to keep up with the cadence they got used to on the bike. I don’t have to tell that it only lasts about 200 m and it is all back to normal. The run went well and I didn’t feel too tired. Maybe I could have pushed a bit more but I was happy with the time of 21:00.

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I think it was the first time that I gained positions on the bike leg. Quite happy that I kept improving my position through the race. My last kilometer running was exactly at the same pace as my first one.


Left: After-race chat with Emily (top) and Elton (bottom). Right: at the Triple Edge tent, the organisers of the December endurance triathlon (4km/120km/30km) here in Canberra. For me it will be 4km/120km/42+km as I’ll be completing the seventh marathon on that event. A big thank you to Brad from Triple Edge for making that possible!

The all-pink marathon: race report

Two weeks ago, on the 25th of October, I ran the fifth marathon of the series, this time in Batemans Bay, in the south coast of NSW. It was a first in many aspects: the first flat course, the first official marathon race, and the first that I didn’t run in the bright orange Can Too colour. Being my October race, I decided to support the Pink Ribbon cause and run all in pink in honour of all women that have been affected by breast cancer. The Batemans Bay Marathon was also officially raising money for Ovarian Cancer Australia, which made me extra happy for my choice of race.

Saturday: “race preparation”

We rented a house near Surf Beach for the weekend and went there with some friends. Marcele and Clara (my wife and daughter) and also Marconi and PatrĂ­cia were registered for the 6km race. Luiz and Nina were the only ones out: Nina for being only 2 years old, and Luiz because Nina can’t take care of herself đŸ˜‰ .

With the whole “all pink” theme, the fun started before the race with the preparation of my outfit. I bought pink socks and shorts, had a bright pink shirt from “Outubro Rosa NiterĂ³i” (NiterĂ³i Pink October) that my brother gave me, and stained my running shoes pink with one of those coloured hair sprays. But the icing on the cake (and the moment that everyone in the house was waiting for) was the pink hair. While the others were gathered around the dining table waiting for the pasta to be cooked, Clara was in charge of dyeing my hair. Ah, on top of that there was some nail painting as well… she was so excited! Here is the result:


Before, during and after. Whoever named this colour “Shocking pink” was spot on!


And there was also nails, shoes, socks, shorts and shirt.

Sunday: race day

I woke up in the morning, got ready for the race, and then drove to the starting line. The others decided to sleep a bit more since their race would start only two hours after mine and their race preparation was also slightly different: while I had pasta for dinner on Saturday, they had pasta AND quite a few glasses of red wine.

I got there early and in the line to drop my keys I saw Sarah Fien, an awesome athlete that has recently won the Canberra 102 km race (the same one that I ran 49km as my fourth marathon). I did some swimming training with her a few years ago and decided to talk to her: “Hi Sarah, I don’t think you remember me but…”, and she replied “No, definitely not with this pink hair”. It was the first of many moments during the race when my hair and/or outfit would be the topic of the conversation. I didn’t mind, in fact, that was the whole point of it: raise awareness and promote the fundraising for cancer research.


Here we go! Photo taken from the event’s Facebook page.

The race started and I was determined to put my race plan to work: I wanted to run at a comfortable 5 min/km and increase the pace only if I felt really well further down the track. I managed to keep my fresh legs under control and was close to my target pace, only slightly faster: 4:56, 4:48, 4:48 and 4:50 min/km in the first 4 km. It was only when I reached the end of the bridge over Clyde River that I sped up a little due to the gentle downhill.

A couple of km after the bridge and I hit what I thought was the only boring part of the course: running up and down following the zigzag course in the school oval. If that was the price to be able to run on the sandy beach in the photo below, then I’d do the grassy oval run again. Wait! I actually did, four times!


An invigorating part of the course. It felt really good to run just a few meters from the water. Photo taken from the event’s Facebook page.

And it was exactly at the beach that I increased my pace again. Wasn’t intentional but I was just feeling good and happy to be running: 4:41, 4:40, 4:36, 4:38 min/km were my paces from the 10th to the 13th kilometers. I slowed down again after leaving the oval on the way back, but that was expected given the two small climbs (if we could call them that) on the way. The 5 km from the bridge to the end of the the first lap were the fastest in the whole race: all under 4:40 with the 18th km at 4:30 min/km. This was the part where we ran through town and I attribute my fast kilometers to the amazing support from all the volunteers, spectators, and fellow runners along the way. I heard a lot of “I love your hair!”, “Nice outfit”, “Go pink!”, but the best was a couple of girls that sang a song from Pink when we crossed our ways. I couldn’t stop laughing. At the turn around point I saw Laura, a friend that I coached earlier this year in one of the Can Too programs. She was there for the 14k race and ran with me for a few hundred meters to give support. It was nice to see a familiar face and have a chat halfway through the race. Thanks Laura!


Given the smile, this photo must have been taken in the first lap! A big thank you to Suzzane Crane for the photo and for the support! Hearing a “Go Bilbys” made me ran extra fast.

But of course there is a limit to what support and mental strength can do and I ended up slowing down considerably in the second half. After km 27 I couldn’t run in under 5 min/km but I didn’t really crash. My slowest km was at 5:34 and I finished in 3:20:34, just a minute over my personal best. I was surprised by that and checked the data from my Garmin: the total distance was just under 41km. The same distance came from the watches of different competitors, and it seems that the course was indeed a bit shorter than the 42.195 for the marathon. Even taking that into account, my time would still be around a respectable 3:27.

The 6km race: friends and family

While I was in my second lap, the 6km race started. I wished I were there to see Marcele, Clara, Marconi and Paty in action. It was Clara’s first ever race and I was a very, very proud dad for her effort. She ran the first half without stopping and finished in 48:50. There she is coming to cross the finish line:


My not-so-little-anymore girl coming to cross the finish line! Photo from the event’s Facebook page.

And a very proud husband as well, as Marcele left the others behind to finish in 42:55. There she is, cruising to cross the finish line.


And my lovely wife running strong the 6km race. Photo from the event’s Facebook page.

Marconi and Paty were not that far from Clara and finished in 49:40. It was really great to have all of you supporting me and a great cause.


Paty and Marconi a few meters from the finish. Photo from the event’s Facebook page.


From top left to right: a) Paty, Nina and Luiz. Thanks Luiz for the recovery barbecue afterwards! b) Stretching the calves with Marconi. c) Almost everyone.

Is there a better way to finish a marathon?

Is there a better way to finish a marathon?

In the package it said: “lasts up to 8 washes”. Well, I have swum at the beach, swum in the pool, sweated over training sessions, been through a hair cut, and washed my hair at least three times as much as the promised 8 washes. However, as I write this post, I still have pink hair. It went from the bright pink to a somewhat purple tone and now is turning more into a “baby pink” as my white hair start to show again. Will I still have pink hair in marathon number 6? It is just one week away!